What Can We Learn From One of the World’s Best After 23.1?

February 23, 2023 by
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After last week’s Open workout, Morning Chalk Up ran an article titled “Lazar Djukic smashes Rich Froning’s 23.1 record from 2014 during live workout in Spain.” As we know, Djukic FINISHED the 2nd round of rowing and completed 27 additional T2B reps. Wow. Impressive score! In the article, Djukic shared his workout reflections and what he would’ve done differently to improve his score.

Roll me in sugar & tickle me pink when I read the following excerpt….

Two things to note:

  1. Even professional athletes ignore their coach’s sage wisdom sometimes.
  2. An elite CrossFit athlete admits that SMALLER SETS would have improved their score.

I find that first point validating (#dearDiary, nobody listens to me…) and the second one highly APPLICABLE for the masses. Let’s put it in context:

Djukic is a TOP athlete worldwide.

If he had to, I imagine his MAX unbroken set of toes-to-bar would be 40-50+ repetitions.

By that math, he performed a set of ~50% of his skill endurance capacity in 23.1 and he STILL says he should have done smaller sets.

What can we learn from one of the world’s best?


It can be so tempting to knock out a big set, but we don’t realize that spending time anywhere near a threshold capacity has compounding effects LATER ON in workouts (particularly true in regards to GRIP and PRESSING endurance – think about how quickly dips and HSPU’s go to failure). The difference can often be as little as 1-5 reps; This small volume often feels negligible for amateur athletes, which is why they often ignore the warning signs of fatigue and failure. You may not succumb to the effects of fatigue at the next station in the workout but you may all of a sudden hit failure 2 or 3 rounds/stations later and wonder where the hell that came from.

Compare that to your own approach in 23.1 – if your MAX set of T2B is 20 reps. Did you start out with a set of 10? How quickly were you down to singles? What if you could have stayed on 5’s for longer? Now for the average athlete, who may have a max set of 10-12 T2B…what happened when they started out with a set of 8?! 

We can see where this is going. The higher % of near-maximal reps that you did, the more likely you were to have a larger drop-off or incur the effects of fatigued grip later on (i.e. – inability to push on the power cleans or hang on for sets of ring muscle-ups).


  1. In CrossFit, you need to evaluate the workout in its entirety when constructing a game plan.This includes:
    – the duration of work
    – the skill and/or strength needed
    – the volume, endurance or power output needed
    – and any factors that may run “interference” (repeated muscle group usage, etc)

    Evaluating 23.1, a lot of folks pushed hard to get to the ring muscle-up station, but in doing so, took their grip and pulling muscles too close to failure in earlier stations, and had less volume capacity for muscle ups as a result. Consider the “interference” that was occurring:
    – Rowing = gripping the handle, similarity of movement/core fatigue to T2B
    – Toes-2-bar = gripping the bar
    – Power cleans = gripping the bar
    – Ring muscle ups = gripping/pulling
  2. Win the workout, not the first round.
    Accumulating fatigue is a thing. Athletes often zoom-in on one element of a workout, only to forget that it is the compounding nature of many movement patterns throughout an entire workout that cause you to reach failure. It takes patience, commitment and most importantly, a deep knowledge of ourselves and our abilities to stick to OUR GAME PLAN when everyone else around us is executing a different one. (I like to remind myself that it feels better to pass someone 1/2 way through a workout than to be passed.)

Not every workout needs to be planned out like this. However, it is a vital skill to incorporate for chippers and longer AMRAP’s, in particular. If you frequently find yourself starting out “hot & in the lead” only to fizzle-out and fall off pace ⅔ of the way through a workout, grab a coach and talk to them about helping you to build your skill endurance, strength endurance, and energy management (breathing and pacing) in workouts. These are skills that can be developed through practice and great coaching like you get with the Invictus Athlete Program!

Enjoy the rest of your 2023 CrossFit Open journey!

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